Thinking about a trip to Croatia? Already have one planned? I've put together 38 local tips, including getting around, safety & health, tips for the beach, dining in restaurants & cafes, using mobile phones & wifi, best ways to charge your devices, along with a couple of items NOT to pack for your trip!
Read on to find out more!
1. Don’t forget that Croatia isn’t in the Schengen Zone yet. Although Croatia did join the EU in 2013, it’s still waiting on its entry to the Schengen Zone. That means you still need your passport to cross the border between Croatia and other EU countries.
If you’re in Zagreb, for example, and you want to take a day trip to Slovenia, there is still an official border crossing with passport checks (once you’re in Slovenia, though, going to other EU countries is a breeze and borderless).
- Zagreb - Dubrovnik
- Zagreb - Split
- Zagreb - Pula
- Zagreb - Zadar
- Pula - Zadar
5. Don’t worry if you don’t know a word of the local language: Croatian. Croatians are very fluent in English (especially those working in tourism).
6. Don’t stock up on Euros before your trip. The official currency is the Kuna, although sometimes you can pay for various services in Euros (even though it’s not legal). Some smaller stores and restaurants will accept Euros as well, but they won’t give you a competitive exchange rate.
Read more about money, exchanging currency, and daily costs in our other blog post here…
You’ll almost always get to sit down with the winemaker him/herself, and it’s a much more authentic experience than having a hired seasonal worker present the tasting to you.
9. Don’t expect to show up at a winery without planning ahead. Watch out for the end of August and beginning of September, as well as some wineries won’t host anyone for a certain period because of “Berba” (which is when they harvest the grapes).
In the past, there have been up to 8 ships docked at once in Dubrovnik. These heavy crowds make the city a little less enjoyable for walking around, so try to plan accordingly.
Here’s a link to check out the cruise schedule: https://www.portdubrovnik.hr/dubrovnik-port-authority# (Click on “Traffic” then “Arrivals / Departures” and then select the month on the left, by number)
11. Unless you specifically came to Croatia for Ultra Music Festival, try to avoid the cities on the particular dates the festival is in town. It gets VERY busy during that time, and accommodation is harder to find (because it’s mostly sold out - with premium pricing).
Here’s a link to Ultra’s website https://ultraeurope.com/
(there are many festivals in Croatia, but Ultra really brings in a lot of people)
If you have time to stop, you won’t regret it! The stands carry whatever fruit is in season, so whatever you buy, it’s sure to be fresh and tasty :)
For other tips and helpful advice on driving in Croatia, here’s a link to another one of our blog posts -> https://www.royalcroatiantours.com/blog/driving-in-croatia-a-helpful-guide-with-practical-tips
13. If you need immediate medical care, call 112 (Don’t forget this number!)
14. If you any road side assistance, call +385 1 987 (HAK - Croatian Automobile Club)
15. Croatia is a very safe country to travel in, but in larger cities, do be mindful of your wallets & purses - pickpocketing does happen, unfortunately.
16. Don’t leave the windows open at night! There aren’t typically screens for windows in Croatia - ever! If you stay at an Airbnb or other private accommodation, pick up a plug-in mosquito repellent to avoid getting bitten through the night, or you could be very itchy in the morning.
17. Don’t stock up on bottled water - tap water is safe and clean to drink!
18. The legal drinking age in Croatia is 18. Buying cigarettes and gambling is also restricted to 18+.
19. Buying pain relief medication - have a headache or pulled a muscle? You will find pain relief meds exclusively at the pharmacy (they don’t sell them in grocery stores or any beauty supply shops). Same goes for pretty much anything medically related.
20. Bring kids pain relief medicine from home - my kids won’t take any syrup that I buy here. They do sell ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but the flavors aren’t the same I guess, as my kids will only take the stuff my mom brings from Canada when she visits!
Speaking of babies…
21. If you run into a super cute newborn walking with his or her parents, don’t reach for his or her sweet little hands or face (as tempting as it might be). I think this rule goes anywhere in the world, but here in Croatia they are quite particular with very little ones.
No one is typically even allowed to visit the home for the first 40 days after a baby is born, unless you are explicitly invited (immediate family is the exception here).
22. Traveling with babies and toddlers is not a problem - Croatia is family friendly, and you can find pretty much anything baby-related at the store. To read more about traveling with babies and toddlers, read our blog post here https://www.royalcroatiantours.com/blog/travel-to-croatia-with-a-toddler-or-baby-from-experience
23. Don’t forget to bring a sun umbrella or a sun tent to the beach. Many beaches don’t have lounge chairs or umbrellas to rent (and on the beaches with umbrellas, it's on a first come, first served basis, so unless you get there super early, there won’t be any available). Kindly ignore this tip if you’re a sun worshipper.
24. Pack/buy water shoes - the beaches are mostly rocky/pebbly, so to get in and out of the sea a little more comfortably, swallow your pride and put on a pair of those uglies.
25. Sea urchins are another reason for those dreaded water shoes. If you go to private beaches, there can be sea urchins scattered around. They aren’t pleasant to step on. I’ve done it, and it’s hard to get the needles out of your foot. They usually stay in about a week or two and eventually will come out on their own, but preventing it is the best medicine!
27. Don’t forget to make reservations for highly rated trip advisor restaurants in advance. A lot of people use trip advisor to find a place to eat, so the best ones do book up in peak season. *Keep in mind, the first 10 listed are just the ones that are most reviewed, so don’t decide based on the first page, alone.
28. Most people eat around 7:30/8:00pm for dinner, so remember that when reserving your table(s).
29. Servers - usually your server will come to your table just a couple of times:
1. To take your order
2. To bring your food/drinks
3. Maybe once after to check in ...but that’s a BIG maybe
If you need something else (this goes for the check in the end, too), try to grab his or her attention with a little wave and say “oprostite” (oh-pros-tee-tay) as he or she walks by.
31. If you ask for cream in your coffee, you’ll most likely get whipped cream. Ask for milk instead. This happened to my family when they came to visit the first time, and everyone had a good laugh.
32. Cell phones - top up your data with “Bon Bon” or “Tele 2”- they have prepaid cards where you can buy MB for your phone if you’ve run out of data on your plan back home. It’s pretty inexpensive - you can get 6-7GB for about 8-10EUR.
Bon Bon https://www.bonbon.hr/ponuda/na-bonove/paketi or
Tele 2 https://www.tele2.hr/privatni-korisnici/start-paket
33. There is often free wifi in the city centers & airports, so check out the networks listed on your phone - you might be in luck!
34. Travel adaptor - voltage is different in Croatia, so bring a converter/adaptor for your phones, tablets and computers.
The thing I find most handy is the multiple-port usb charger, where you can charge a few devices at once and only need/use one plug and socket. They look like this (from Ikea) https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/koppla-3-port-usb-charger-white-60415030/ (but obviously this won’t work for a computer)
35. If you’ve already been traveling around Europe, the same adapter should work (the only exception is the UK - they have their own plugs)
36. Don’t bring a flat iron or straightening iron from home and use the converter! It could burn out. You can pick one up in Croatia relatively inexpensively if you’re really in need.
You really don’t have to worry about forgetting anything, because you can buy pretty much everything here in Croatia. A couple of things not to pack:
37. Leave your high heels at home - all of the quaint cobblestone streets weren’t made for heels, so you’re best to stick to flats! The last thing you need is a broken ankle for the rest of your trip.
And as mentioned before - don’t bring a curling/straightening iron because the voltage doesn’t convert well!
38. Find yourself stuck or need something when in Croatia or while planning your trip? Give me a call and I’ll try to help you out in any way I can, free of charge! +385 99 848 3225.
I hope you find some of these Croatia travel tips helpful! If I’ve missed any really great ones, please comment below and I’ll update the list! Please share if you found this helpful :)
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- Driving in Croatia (a Helpful Guide With Practical Tips)
- Zagreb’s Flea Market, Hrelic: a Helpful Guide
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